FRISCO, Texas - James Madison held Youngstown State to 292 total yards on Saturday afternoon and rolled to a 28-14 victory, as the Dukes captured the 2016 NCAA Division I Football Championship, the second title in program history.
The Dukes, who finished the season 14-1 and undefeated against FCS foes, saw their defensive line dominate from start to finish, holding the Penguins (12-4) to just 21 rushing yards after YSU entered the contest averaging 257.5 yards on the ground.
Senior linebacker Gage Steele paced an all-around dominant performance by the JMU defense, racking up six tackles, including five solo stops, a pair of sacks and a pass breakup as the Dukes forced a pair of crucial turnovers in the third quarter to put the game away.
No defensive player had more tackles for the Dukes than junior defensive back Jordan Brown's seven, but nine different players had at least three, while sophomore defensive back Curtis Oliver picked off his second pass of the season and sophomore Darrious Carter scooped up a fumble.
Senior running back Khalid Abdullah of Newport News, ended his career in style, rushing 26 times for 101 yards and a pair of scores for an afternoon that put him atop the JMU record books in career touchdowns, single-season touchdowns and single-season rushing yards.
The Dukes needed just 12 passes to take home the trophy, as junior quarterback Bryan Schor went 7-of-12 for 112 yards with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to junior tight end Jonathan Kloosterman and senior wide receiver Rashard Davis. JMU put the Penguins in an early hole, as Abdullah stretched the lead to 21-0 on a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 8:17 to play before halftime, though YSU responded with a touchdown of its own less than five minutes later.
Abdullah scored from two yards out with 10:10 to play in the third quarter for an advantage that proved to be all the Dukes' defense needed, as Youngstown State managed just one more scoring drive that ended with 10 seconds left before the final whistle.